A successful School Marketing Plan (SMP) needs a well funded School Marketing Budget (SMB). This is probably the most controversial aspect of any School Marketing Plan.
1. Make the Budget Realistic
Various people within each school community have differing views on the amount which should be afforded to the School Marketing Budget. School Principals and School Managers need to be aware that the implementation of a good SMP would inevitably drive up community engagement and enrolment numbers!
In today’s dollar values spending $ 20 000 – $ 40 000 on an average SMB for an average sized independent school (of between 600 and 900 students) would be a good investment. This would need to be proportionately reviewed according to overall School Budget, the number of enrolments and the overall need of the school to build and maintain enrolment numbers.
When the SMP is being developed for a specified year, key stakeholders, particularly the School Principal, School Manager and the School Marketing Manager, need to assess the budget requirements. The budget will have a significant impact on a SMP for any year. The SMB includes all areas of the SMP which incur expenses.
2. Invest During Good Times
Good times are the best times to invest. This enables the school’s reputation to be enhanced considerably. Resting on the laurels of the past can become an expensive exercise when the reputation is forgotten or when a new challenge comes from other competing interests, including other schools and distractions within society.
3. Invest in Difficult Financial Times
However, all schools need to market themselves at whatever stage of the success cycle at which they find themselves. Don not give up in the tough times – all schools will experience these throughout their history. It is a most important time to market, fight for the dollars so you don not get left behind in the marketplace.
4. Shared School Marketing Budgets – Regionalized or Localized
Shared SMBs across a number of schools may be another way of efficiently budgeting. This could be regionalized e.g.: • a combined regional budget to be shared amongst schools or • a RMM (Regional Marketing Manager) implementing the whole marketing plan for the region and individual schools, which are only required to develop their own essentials such as newsletters.
Or it may be a number of localized schools working together and sharing the budget.
A shared budget may see different schools marketing specific aspects for the cluster e.g. • one may concentrate on Arts / Sport Education within the cluster • another may market the varying sorts of key curriculum and extra-curricular areas on offer and differing times for each • another may emphasize the pastoral, welfare and social justice aspects within the cluster.
For some schools this may be the only way to begin marketing or to maintain a SMB in any form what-so-ever.
Caution – even though this may appear to save financially, it takes away from the individual uniqueness of each school. Marketing is often more successful when emphasizing a uniqueness.
A professionally run school will always allow for an appropriate marketing budget to assist with promoting the school – both in good and difficult times.
Interested in exploring more about school or church marketing? Just visit http://churchparishmarketing.com and http://marketschools.com websites. Here you will find numerous specialized blog posts, hints and tips, and e-books, etc.